The Blog Aquatic » fishing line http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Cleanups: Going after Clean Water Hook, Line and Sinker http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/12/cleanups-going-after-clean-water-hook-line-and-sinker/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/12/cleanups-going-after-clean-water-hook-line-and-sinker/#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2012 18:15:40 +0000 Catherine Fox http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=2616

Fishing is fine on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Credit: Catherine Fox

Fishing. It’s a cherished pastime that takes us away from the daily grind and instantly sets the mind at ease. “When the fish are biting, no problem in the world is big enough to be remembered,” said writer Orlando A. Battista.

Whether you love fishing or just enjoy the thrill of walking along a clean beach and watching wildlife, it’s important to understand that lost tackle can have serious consequences if we don’t clean it up.

Fishing gear lost in the water may not seem like a big deal compared with other types of trash, but when left behind inadvertently by fishermen whose lines break or snag, it’s a definite hazard:

The one (thing) that got away

The small nonprofit Partners for Clean Streams on the outskirts of Toledo, Ohio, participates in Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup each fall and also cleans local waterways in spring and summer.

It’s easy to see why line is a hazard to wildlife. Courtesy of Partners for Clean Streams.

Like Cleanup volunteers everywhere, they find huge amounts of fishing line, often hooks, jigs and lead sinkers attached. The organization recognized the importance of removing trash, including these items, to protect the aquatic environment—not to mention the local fishing experience.

“White bass and walleye run mid-April in the Maumee River where we work,” explained Ava Slotnick, outreach coordinator. “The river—the largest going into Lake Erie—is an important breeding ground.”

That geography is significant, says Ocean Conservancy Marine Debris Specialist Nicholas Mallos: “Lakes, rivers and streams may seem like isolated ecosystems, but it’s important to remember the ocean is downstream from all of us. Fishing gear that enters freshwater ecosystems can find its way into the ocean where it will persist for a very long time.”

Environment – and economy
Another key point is how important all these fish and fishermen are to local communities. “The fishing business here is a huge part of our economy,” Ava told me. “Anglers are out there in waders and boats, bumping elbows. A lot of commerce happens; you can imagine the hotel boom and full restaurants during fishing season.”

Recycling sinkers

Partners for Clean Streams started the Get the Lead Out! program eight years ago. Volunteers have collected more than 90 pounds of sinkers, impressive when you realize

Hooks and sinkers. Courtesy of Partners for Clean Streams.

many are BB-sized. “We resell the lead to Zap Lures in Sylvania,” said Slotnick. “They melt and reuse it, coating new sinkers to help keep lead from leaching out.”

What you can do
Fishing line is  the number-one wildlife entanglement item found during the International Coastal Cleanup. Fishing company Berkley has recycled more than 9 million miles worth of fishing line, and welcomes old line from anyone. They make it into new products like tackle boxes.

And the “Reel in and Recycle” program at BoatU.S. Foundation provides collection bins you can hang at piers and other fishing sites, plus a video on how to build your own.

A local Bass Pro Shops store mails the line in for Partners for Clean Streams, a budget-saver for the tiny nonprofit. It just goes to show that everyone—from nonprofits to volunteers from the community to businesses—has a role to play when it comes to protecting clean water.

The joy of cleanups
Ava Slotnick clearly loves cleanups, especially when she takes young people out on the river: “One teen got in the water and said, ‘This is the first time I’ve been in the Maumee River and I live ten minutes away!’ You could just tell by the look on his face that he thought it was so cool.”

“And that’s where the joy is, in making this transition for people from the notion ‘nature is out there and I can’t do much with it’ to really being out in the water and learning from it,” she says.

Last year, Partners for Clean Streams got 726 volunteers out for their Clean Your Streams event, part of the International Coastal Cleanup. In three hours they picked up 15,315 pounds of trash.

So what are you waiting for? Whether you’re inland or on the coast, sign up for the International Coastal Cleanup in September, connect with the water and have a great time making a difference!

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How to Make a Good Day on the Water Great: 5 Tips to Reduce Trash http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/02/how-to-make-a-good-day-on-the-water-great-5-tips-to-reduce-trash-2/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/02/how-to-make-a-good-day-on-the-water-great-5-tips-to-reduce-trash-2/#comments Thu, 02 Aug 2012 15:00:41 +0000 Catherine Fox http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=1537

Love clean water? Pick up as you go to keep it that way! Credit: JohnCramerPhotography flickr user

With record temperatures coloring the weather map red across much of the country this summer, many of us are seeking relief on lakes, rivers, bays and the ocean. This past weekend, I beat the heat by floating blissfully down the Shenandoah River at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia in an inner tube.

But right away I saw that my fellow tubers and I weren’t the only things being carried downstream. Around me bobbed all kinds of trash heading for the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. Wind and ocean currents might even carry this trash to the North Pacific Gyre, or Pacific Garbage Patch.

My friend Steve and I made a fun and friendly competition of spotting and cleaning up Styrofoam cups, food wrappers, red-and-white fishing corks and even someone’s lost Croc.

There were so many single-use beverage containers,  I figured they likely bounced out of rafts or even people’s hands as they adventured through the rapids.

One of the most pervasive items was monofilament. We saw the sturdy fishing line everywhere—big snarls along with long, dangerous single strands almost impossible to see in the water, waiting to entangle hapless water birds, fish and other wildlife.

Collecting as much as we could carry, we wished we’d brought along a huge sack. But when we reached the outfitter’s pick up site at the end of the trip, a growing pile of trash was waiting for proper disposal thanks to our fellow adventurers.

It was great to see what a difference we’d all made together in one morning, working one by one. And it felt terrific knowing we left that beautiful river, a path to the ocean, cleaner than we found it.

How can each of us pitch in?

Simple: think ahead. If you’re going tubing, rafting, canoeing,  kayaking or heading out on a sailboat or power boat, it’s easy to protect wildlife and clean water.

  1. Take a bag—or two—for collecting trash; mesh lets the water drain out.
  2. Consider taking a dip net so you can easily snag items.
  3. Bring a reusable beverage bottle and secure it with twine so it doesn’t fall out and become trash; towing it in the water keeps your drink cool.
  4. Minimize trash when packing snacks or picnics.
  5. Recycle everything you can back onshore, including fishing line (find out about monofilament recycling here).

Got a notable experience with trash in the water you’d like to share, like finding weird items or large amounts of trash that surprised you? Share your story below in the comments section.

 

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